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The Situation Room

Traditional reporting and online resources update international news.

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01:31:00

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Ukraine 29, Russia 24, U.s. 24, Us 13, Obama 11, Angela Merkel 10, North Korea 9, Donald Sterling 8, Nato 7, Washington 7, Jim Sciutto 6, Angie 6, Jason Bin 6, United States 6, Eastern Ukraine 6, Europe 6, Osce 4, Rachel 4, Kiev 4, Jason 4,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    Traditional reporting and online  
   resources update international news.  

    May 2, 2014
    2:00 - 3:31pm PDT  

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association dinner that starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern and we're going to have a red carpet preview event. don't worry. i won't be judging who wore it best. follow me on twitter @jaketapper. check out our show page @thelead. >> jake, thanks very much, breaking news, brink of war. the death toll and the unrest, is the crisis spiralling out of control? breaking news, banned from the nba for life or racist remarks. what is he saying now about his alleged girlfriend and their
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secretly recorded conversations? nuclear threat. disturbing new signs that north korea may be close to what washington fears most. could they have a mobile nuclear missile in its arsenal? i'm wolf blitzer. this is the situation room. we're following two major breaking stories at this hour. violence sweeping cities in ukraine leaving dozens of people dead and donald sterling sparked by racist remarks reacting to nba efforts forcing him to sell his team and now wishes he had just paid off his alleged girlfriend. we're following the fast breaking developments. let's stand by. with the crisis in ukraine, our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is working his sources. this seems to be getting worse and worse. >> there is violence on the ground and at the same time you're seeing an escalation in
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capabilities of the pro-russian militants. helicopters shut down with missiles as ukrainian forces launch their most ambitious efforts so far to reclaim one city in the east taken over by paramilitary. that offensive so far has not been successful. this comes as the administration struggling with a response that works announced a new trigger for sector wide sanctions against russia today and that trigger is the continued destabilization inside ukraine to the point that it would impede crucial elections in ukraine set for may 25th, about three weeks from now. and as the u.s. sets this new red line, the u.s. and russia are moving further apart in their views of the situation. the u.s. is blaming russia. russia blaming the u.s. today you have the president saying that clearly russia must be involved and they must be peaceful if they have missiles to shoot down helicopters. meanwhile, russia's ambassador to the u.n. accusing the u.s. of
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orchestrating the violence. he made the point that every time a u.s. official visits kiev, that the violence on the ground increases. you also have western officials taking a more darkly humorous look at the events tweeting ukrainian helicopters shot down in slovyansk, some elderly ladies must have bought rpgs at the grocery store, i assume. this is dark humor. they have a way to push back against the russian propaganda and it's really enflaming the ground and it's to support the paramilitaries and we're seeing the effects right now. >> the violence and brutality could get worse. stand by for a moment. i want to bring in nick paton walsh. he's on the ground in eastern ukraine. he's right near slovyansk.
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what's the latest, nick? what are you hearing and what are you seeing? >> reporter: well, we are here on the ground just outside of slovyansk. two paratroopers have been confirmed kill by the ministry of defense near a bridge where we were standing just earlier on today where a large number of ukrainian armed personnel rolled into the out skirts of slovyansk to meet a hostile reception from local residents and really in the last 24 hours have seen the situation here on the ground in slovyansk and in eastern ukraine spiral out of control. >> at dawn they finally moved in. backed by the national guard and a little lost. helicopters in support and around slovyansk, the sound that everyone had been dreading.
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the army piling in and russian militants fleeing on foot and fired at helicopters. the van they drove around town for days. and shell casings, one from the army's heavy weapons. nothing slowed them down except, of course, the people. this ambulance carried away an older man and his legs were run over. the welcome here, perhaps not what they expected. didn't expect to come here at all, he says. it's giving me a headache. after weeks of empty rhetoric, this is kiev's first serious move to reassert control and it is both determined did they move further into the town or
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surrounded by hostile locals and it's the animosity that will be the biggest obstacle for these troops. the numbers rise as the storm moves in. on the main highway, the army has removed the pro-russian militants but deeper in they remain. and here where the militants were pulling back, ukrainian troops far from the country's west are digging in. one tells many he that orders are to keep the perimeter and another force may move in to the city center. new, unimaginable terrifying ground for them, for ukraine and for europe whose stability hangs on faceoffs on the quiet country roads. and people's worst fears are being reported by residence. i've just spoken to this
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self-declared mayor who was considered to have been killed. he's very much alive and fine but despite with being with armored vehicles may be the target of that shooting. wolf? >> nick paton walsh, be careful. joining us is fareed zakaria as host of "fareed zakaria gps." jim sciutto is still here and general james "spider" marks. chuck hagel said that the u.s. will be judged harshly. is putin putting the u.s. at a test right now? >> putin is not putting anybody at a test. right now we have not demonstrated, other than through words, that we're going to back
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the government in kiev and arguably the strongest is the military and our priority has been taken off the table. >> the u.s. has engaged in serious sanctions. >> oh, sure, that's argumentative and diplomatic. but when you have four elements of power and take one of those completely off the table, you've discounted an ability to get some immediate results and putin would understand. >> fareed, i know that the german chancellor angela merkel is here. she's been making the rounds and she met with the president. you've got some insight into what she potentially together with president obama might be able to do to rein in putin. >> wolf, i think angela merkel, the chancellor of germany realizes that europe is not
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going to do anything and i think they have to respond, as you put it, to the putin challenge. i think military options are not off the table because they are week but because they are impossible to imagine. you're talking about going to the russia of border where russia spent 20 times what ukraine does on russia's budget. it's not clear what the ukrainian army is. remember, a large part of the ukrainian army in the east are ethnic russians. it's not entirely clear that they would side with the government. the sanctions route is the one that has to be tried and the german chancellor seems pretty firm that the europeans would join in broader sanctions and they want to keep ratcheting them up. it's important to know how much of an effect they have had because they have created so much uncertainty about russia that no one is investing.
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the stock market is down 13%. russia tried to borrow money on the international markets last week. they had to withdraw the offering because they couldn't borrow any money. of course, huge amounts of capital has fled russia. let's keep in mind that the economic sanctions strategy could work if implemented and let's hope that that is a track that these two leaders are on. the sense i got from meeting with merkel, which i did this morning, is that do europeans and the americans are more united than people realize. of course, europe is a more complicated story. it's 29 countries. they've got to agree on everything and they are being tougher than i expected initially. >> and the president announced a new trigger for tougher u.s.-led sanctions related to the scheduled elections in ukraine. >> no question. and this is news. because you've heard from the
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officials for some time that they needed to keep sector-wide sanctions. the ones that are going to hit the russian economy in the gut in case there was an invasion, in case a portion of them come across, if they needed something in their quiver to respond to that. as we see events spiral on the ground, they have to react more quickly. so this new stand 5ard, if you e it continue, they are going to bring in some sectors. i think to fareeds point, the germans are backing that as well and they have been making that consistently for weeks. we need unity. we can't lead on our own. >> and on that point, it looked like president obama and angela merkel were on the same page publicly at the news conference earlier in the day. what might trigger putin to order russian troops poised on the russian side of the border
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into eastern ukraine? >> i don't think that he is prepared to do that. he knows that the costs would be exceptionally high if he crossed the border. and if he were to do that, if you do the normal calculations, it would cause in excess of 100,000 of his troops to occupy that part of ukraine. he doesn't want to commit his military forces to do that. but he understands by poising them north of the border, it's exceptionally strategically acceptable. what i don't understand is how much the trigger events have to take place to have an additional surge, a sanctions -- >> the argument that the president made is that if the russians disrupt the may 25th elections, that would trigger additional sanctions. >> the president's words were, if the disruption continues to the point where it impedes these elections from taking place, in effect they are still holding out this possibility that russia can pull back because it's the
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administration's contention that they have the ability to control these paramilitary. of course, they have not done that yet. >> fareed, how worried should some of those nato allies in eastern europe, whether poland or the baltic states be about a move from russia into those nato allies? the u.s. would have to come to their defense. >> well, i think if you imagine, wolf, the baltic states that are part of the soviet union, never recognized by the united states but they were republic, they have two of those states and they have significant russian populations and were they not members of nato, i would imagine that they would be very nerve vouts right now because, after all, it's the rights of the
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russian population that putin is using as their prefix. i think that's one of the reasons why you notice many of them asked for maneuvers. so i think this has been very, very helpful that the americans and other nato allies have reassured those nato countries bordering this region that they have some security. i think it's important to under clz score what jim sciutto is pointing out. we're have a very volume time time for the next three weeks. the elections are either going to happen or not happen and the road to the elections is going to be a period of de-escalation or the russian goal to make the elections impossible, we're going to see a lot more of what you're watching on the screen right now. this could get messy.
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>> it certainly could. jim sciutto, thank you. you can see fareed zakaria every sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. coming up, donald sterling is speaking out for the first time about the scandal marked by hits racist remarks. what he's now saying about selling the clippers, about his alleged girlfriend. cnn's rachel nichols and don lemon are standing by. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, like me,
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the breaking news in the scandal surrounding the embattled clippers' owner donald sterling talking about the effort of the nba forcing him to sell his team. the woman at the center of this scandal. brian todd is working the story for us. brian, what's going on? >> wolf, tonight we've learned about new comments from donald sterling. we believe the first public comments since the scandal broke. he spoke to jason bin and indicated he's not going to take this lying down. donald sterling tells jason binn, quote, i wish i had just paid her off, referring to v. stiviano. those who have tangled with sterling say he's not about to roll over. >> i'd be very surprised if he
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doesn't make a big battle out of it. >> reporter: doug lapt bagby represented a former girlfriend. he's got a long history of contentious litigation and has been sued for sexual harassment and has given contentious depositions. >> do you have an understanding of what sexual is? >> just the word sexual? >> yes. >> well, the word sexual is sexual. >> what does it mean? >> what does it mean? >> sterling won that case. experts say there's at least one legal strategy that he can use to stall the nba's effort to force him to sell the clippers. it involves the estranged wife rochelle. >> he can file for divorce and the clippers is community property. >> reporter: that would not fend off a forced sale. he could try to sue the nba separately and ask for a court order. >> what he would then do is file
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for an injunction against the nba to delay any sale until the divorce or just to have the family court distribute that property. >> reporter: that means more courts involved. another layer of legal complexity which garcia says could force the sale of the clippers for two years or longer. sterling stalled an attempted forced sale before. in 1982 sterling was heard saying that the clippers need to finish last to draft a top player. sterling later announced his desire to sell the team. that bought him time. and nba official david stern who later became commissioner said that the league would not pursue the deal any further. >> i'm wondering, can commissioner stern come forward now and tell us exactly why he gave that organization his
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blessings back in 1983? >> a spokesman for former commissioner stern says he's traveling and unavailable for comment. as for donald sterling's comment about paying her off, we couldn't get a comment from the lawyer for v. stiviano but earlier the lawyer said that she was not sterling's girlfriend and did not publish the leaked recordings. >> and there is news about his health? >> he's battling cancer. a spokesman said he could not comment on that. >> they are saying that he has prostate cancer. >> that's right. >> we'll get to more information on that. brian, thanks very, very much. we'll talk all about this. cnn's rachel nichols is standing by and so is don lemon. i received more information about what don sterling is now saying. i spoke to jason bin about what sterling has in his mind, about his next steps.
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let's get back to the breaking news. donald sterling now speaking out for the first time about the racist remarks that he made, got him banned for life from the nba. cnn has learned new details now of what he was saying, what he wishes he was doing differently and what he plans to do next. we're back with rachel nichols who is host of "unguarded." cnn anchor don lemon. also joining us is jeffrey toobin on the phone. rachel, i just spoke with jason bin who is editor of "du jour" magazine. sterling made it clear to jason that he has no inclination to sell the team. he's ready to face the nba. does that surprise you? >> no, it doesn't surprise me at all. we've said all along that donald sterling is not one to give up without a fight, that there are some legal questions here about whether the nba can force this
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sale and that donald sterling is a litigious guy. his identity is so wrapped newspaper being the owner of his team that it's going to be tough for him to walk away. >> jeffrey, he also said this and it's on the website. he said of the alleged girlfriend, v. stiviano, quote, i wish i had just paid her off. what does that suggest, jeffrey, to you? >> it suggests that he has a ph.d. in making a bad situation worse. instead of showing a little remorse, showing some understanding of how his comments were perceived, instead of apologizing, he's just acting like the jerk that he appeared to be on the tape, which is certainly not going to change the vote in the nba which at
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least initially worked unanimously against him and will probably remain that way. >> i'm also told by jason bin that sterling never thought his comments would create the huge uproar that it has clearly developed out there. give me your reaction to these comments we're now hearing for the first time. >> listen, i didn't do the interview but if what jason says is correct, i have a couple of names. first of all, he should have said, instead of i should have paid her off, the first thing would be, i should not have said what i said. i'm remorseful. i'm not a racist. jeffrey is being extremely nice when he calls him a jerk. i have some names for him. okay people at home, get ready. i think he's a narcissist. i think he's objenoxious and an
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unrepented racist. he really doesn't get it. he has no self awareness. >> he's not going to apologize. he doesn't think he did anything wrong. he doesn't think he did anything wrong years ago when he was sued for housing discrimination, he doesn't think he did anything wrong when he discriminated against eljin pbaylor. it's amazing but it's consistent. >> he told jason that he's ready to talk to the nba and barbara walters but that's it. he's ready to do an interview with barbara walters. he's ready to talk to the nba but he's not going to talk to others. what do you make of it? >> we'll see. we're going to see as this unfolds with donald sterling whether he gets himself, as jeffrey said, into deeper hot water. he's certainly not making any friends for himself and really i would have to think his only avenue now is the courts. the court of public opinion is against him and this is probably
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going to make it worse. the court of the nba internally against him, this is probably going to make him worse. the only avenue he may have is the courts and jeffrey can speak about this theory that maybe he and his wife shelly, one or both of them would file for divorce and get the ownership tied up in a community property battle. >> how about he wants to speak to magic johnson instead of barbara walters? how about that? how about, i want to speak to everyone on the team. how about i want to speak directly to america? >> yesterday wolf and i said it would be a good idea if he did this. you said it's never going to happen. and you're absolutely right. how about, he shows some compassion and some kuth and at least he's a human being instead of a jerk. he's not making anything better. >> jeffrey, i've got a legal
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issue i want you to explain because cnn spoke with v. stiviano's attorney before we learned of the comments of what donald sterling was telling jason bin. here's what the lawyer for v. stiviano, the alleged girlfriend said. v. stiviano did not leak the rcordings. we are narrowing down who might have leaked the tapes but we do not want to divulge at this point. apparently sterling believes that v. stiviano did leak those tapes. but go ahead. what is going on here from a legal perspective? >> well, it's an interesting sideshow about whether she taped him illegally, when she violated the law or violated sterl's right in some way that he might be able to sue her. none of that has anything to do with whether he will be able to hold on to the franchise. the nba has the tapes. they were made public.
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he's acknowledged to adam silver that it's his voice on the tapes. so it's a complete legal and otherwise sideshow about whether she did something wrong. it has nothing to do with whether the nba will remove the team from him. >> rachel, v. stiviano was asked to comment today on these reports that donald sterling, who is 80 years old, is suffering from prostate cancer. here's what she said. listen to this. >> pardon me. did you know that donald sterling was fighting prostate cancer? >> i love your sandals. where are they from? >> banana republic. >> why are you holding the microphone? >> it's my job. >> if only we could all get paid for wearing a shield. >> oh, my gosh. are you kidding me? >> i don't know what to say.
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>> well, we've already discussed on this show her night shield versus her day shield, black versus pink. very important. i don't know when that was shot, during the day or night or if she's making a shield faux pas. but when you're interviewing someone who looks like dar darth vader is a distraction. a man who owns the clippers said these things and was alleged to have said much worse things and is now intent on continuing this campaign of insanity. i'm curious to see how the next few days unfold. if he does fight this and drag this out into something longer, we're going to get more of this. she was on roller skates the other day. did you hear that? >> i have the real live olivia pope on my show the other day. her advice for v. stiviano was
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simple. stop giving interviews. she's becoming just as hated for doing this. why do we call her his girlfriend? she was the sugar baby and he was sugar daddy. this wasn't a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. one thing was getting something out of it -- or both were getting something out of it and both -- never mind. >> you want to explain on national television how that works? >> let's move this story ahead a little bit. we've got what donald sterling was telling jason and we have nuggets there saying that he's going to resist selling this team, he's willing to talk to the nba but has no inclination to sell the team. jeffrey, where is this story moving? >> well, i i think the next key development is when the voters will actually vote to take the franchise away. there was a preliminary meeting a couple of days ago with nine of the most important owners
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where they voted unanimously to support adam silver. the next step is for the league to take the formal action against sterling. at that point, we may see what his legal defense is. i mean, it's one thing to spout off to an interviewer. the next really important step will be when sterling or his lawyer lays out what reason he has that the nba lacks the authority to take it away. that will be a significant development and we'll see if he can even muster an argument against the nba. but that should be in the next few days. >> and don, i just want to point out, when i spoke to jason bin, who is on his way here to washington to attend the white house correspondents' associati association dinner, he said he had no idea that his comments would create this huge, huge uproar. go ahead and react to that.
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>> lack of self-awareness. >> he doesn't think he's racist. >> wolf, i wrote in a column that is online now, when you look at him and you look at cliven bundy, the new racism is not knowing that you're racist. how could he make those comments and not think that he's racist or cause a stir. he's just completely, completely unaware. >> rachel, give me your final thought. >> it's just amazing to me that we can have this playout on this kind of stage during the playoffs in the nba's most crucial time. this is embarrassing for the legal and it's about to get worse if he's making statements like this. yesterday the voters voted to move forward on the advisory committee. you would think that they would move forward even faster than that. you would have thought that they would have served him notice today, because this has got to end. >> rachel, before i let you go, just a sports-related question. the fact that this story
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exploded just as the clippers were going through their first round of the playoffs, doing well, obviously having an accident season this year and the clippers have had horrible seasons for decades. is it a coincidence, do you believe that this story erupted now or is there something going on, whoever leaked all of this information to tmz deliberately wanted to do it when it would get maximum exposure? >> well, it's not a coincidence because this story was purposefully leaked. there's no coincidence about it. you could have leaked it a month from now or now. this is a decision they made now to get maximum bchlang for the k and it certainly worked. >> thanks, guys. when we come back, breaking news, north korea is ready to conduct an underground nuclear test and test a missile capable of reaching the united states. just ahead. and new details in the search for flight 370 as
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it looks like the future! we must have encountered a temporal vortex. further analytics are necessary. beam us up. ♪ that's my phone. hey. [ female announcer ] the x1 entertainment operating system. only from xfinity. tv and internet together like never before. another major story we're following here in "the situation room." we're getting new details in the search for malaysia flight 370 where the bluefin underwater search device has just wrapped up its 18th mission without finding any, any debris. we're learning this isn't the end of its deployment, though. anna is joining us from perth, australia. what can you tell us, anna? >> reporter: wolf, far from the end of this search, if anything, it's just gearing up. as you say, the 18th mission has
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completed with no sign of debris from mh-370. now, we know that the "ocean shield" will be coming back to port here in perth in the next few days to restock and refuel before heading back out. we know that the search is heading into a new phase, which will cover an area of some 20,000 square miles north to where they have been searching. we believe that this will take, according to authorities, between eight months to a year to cover this entire area. but as far as authorities are concerned, they are meeting in kambra and we'll be there to tell you what happens. >> anna coren in perth for us. let's bring in miles o'brien and cnn's richard quest. what do you make of the meeting? maybe they are going to review
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and start from scratch? >> a pause might be a good thing. the fact that the "ocean shield" is coming back, the fact that the principle parties are getting together may be a fresh look at everything that we've been talking about, these 50-plus days is a good thing. maybe some blinders have been on. maybe some clues have been overlooked. this may be an opportunity to reinvigorate the investigation. >> the australian prime minister, as well, if i could point out, richard, says this new search area could last, what, eight to 12 months now. they are just going to begin a long, long process. >> and i think that's exactly what most of us had expected when nothing was found in the first few days. the long, hard, slow slog is going to get under way. miles is probably spot on when he said what are they going to do? they've got to work out the practic practicalities, the cost sharing
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and burden sharing and the commercial contracts and i think the big agreement between china, australia, malaysia, that's what they are going to be talking about. and a full reappraisal. this is what you would expect to see in any academic environment. they haven't found what they are looking for. they've got to go back and look at every single aspect of the search data and really come to the idea, are we still happy with all of the conclusions we've reached? >> miles, "the wall street journal" is reporting that the next phase of the search could be delayed for at least six weeks because of negotiations with private contracts for specific high-tech equipment. what do you make of that? >> well, it's unfortunately. the weather is going to be much worse there and that kicks the can down the road a little bit. you know, i think it's really important and this is just such a hard thing to tell the families, that this is the time frame and expectations for when they might find something is not
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really in sync of the pace of the investigation up to this point. i think everyone expected once they heard the pings, it would be a short period of time before there would be a eureka moment. six months in the grand scheme of things is probably appropriate. >> richard quest and miles o'brien, thank you. we'll stay on top of the story. breaking news ahead of north korea. new concerns that north korea is getting ready to test a missile potentially capable of reaching the united states. we have disturbing details. and more breaking news we're covering. two downed helicopters, dozens killed. we're going live to ukraine on the brink of war. that's coming up at the top of the hour. the united states postal service will get it there on time with priority mail flat rate shipping.
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breaking news just coming into the "situation room" out of north korea. new satellite images from a test site now raising serious concern here in the united states. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's working the story for us. has some new information. what are you learning, barbara? >> wolf, there are a number of new classified intelligence indicators that north korea may be about to embark on a new round of very dangerous weapons testing. u.s. military intelligence now believes kim jong-un's regime is ready at any time to conduct both an underground nuclear test and to test a missile that could reach u.s. shores. the problem? no one knows if and when north korea might do it. >> we continue to monitor the
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situation on the korean peninsula very closely as we always do. >> reporter: what the u.s. is watching is this test site north korea. the website, 38north, which closely monitors north korea, says commercial satellites snapped these pictures showing engine testing for a crucial long-range missile called the kno8. the kno8 first shown as a mock-up at this parade is a mobile intercontinental missile. a huge worry. because if north korea can develop a mobile missile with a nuclear warhead, they can move it around quickly. a u.s. spy satellite might not find it before it launches. >> it's estimated that these road mobile missiles could have a range of as far as 6,000 miles. again, we don't know if that's true because they haven't tested one, but if they can fire a road mobile missile that far, that puts places like alaska, hawaii, and los angeles within range.
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>> reporter: analysts say the imagery shows evidence the engine test happened in a recent two-week period. fuel tanks have been moved from the immediate test area to a post test storage site. as you can see here, from the website 38north, it also shows vehicles have been brought in carrying personnel and equipment and a trench has turned white, possibly from the blast of an engine test. and if there is a nuclear test, wolf, the u.s., the cia, the pentagon, everyone will be watching very closely to see if north korea has been able to develop a miniatureized nuclear warhead. that is what is needed to go on the front end of a north korean missile. when you match up a miniatureized nuclear warhead and a mobile missile that can reach the united states, that satellites might not be able to see quickly enough, this becomes a complete change in how the u.s. has to calculate the north
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korean threat. wolf? >> very disturbing news coming out of north korea. barbara, thank you. coming up at the top of the hour. breaking news. dozens dead just today as violence explodes across ukraine. we're going live to the region. that's coming up next. and it feels like your lifeate revolves around your symptoms, ask your gastroenterologist about humira adalimumab. humira has been proven to work for adults who have tried other medications but still experience
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happening now, breaking news. deadly assault. offensive by ukrainian forces and growing fears of an all-out war. cnn is on the ground as the body count rises and this conflict threatens to tear a nation apart. president obama's promising to come down harder on vladimir putin unless the violence eases. i'll ask top diplomatic insiders, will there be a dangerous showdown between the u.s. and russia? can this crisis be resolved? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news.
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>> and let's begin with the breaking news. the deadly violence spreading in ukraine. triggering threats and counterthreats between russia and the west. dozens were killed today in clashes and a fire in one city that's become a flashpoint in this crisis. tanks and troops are on the move. two helicopters were shot down. the chaos is clearly spiraling right now. our senior international correspondent arwa damon is standing by in ukraine. let's bring in chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. >> we saw an escalation of the violence on the ground inside ukraine, escalation of the capabilitiy ies of the pro-russ paramilitaries and escalation in the response from the west. president obama and chancellor angela merkel vowing today they'll punish whole sectors of the russian economy if this disruption which they charge is coordinated from moscow does not stop before key elections may
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25th. events on the ground becoming even more alarming. every day, ukraine looks more and more like a country at war. here, residents cheer after two ukrainian helicopters are shot down, both pilots are killed. and here, pro-russian militants clash with ukrainian police. the new violence comes as ukrainian forces launch their most intensive effort so far to push pro-russian militants from one more eastern city that has slipped from their control. but ethnic russians resisted, blocking ukrainian tanks and demanding they not advance farther. still struggling to device a policy to deescalate the crisis, president obama met with german chancellor angela merkel in washington. together they set a new trigger for broader sector-based
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sanctions. >> if, in fact, we see the disruptions and the destabilization continuing so severely that it impedes elections on may 25th, we will not have a choice but to move forward with additional more severe sanctions. >> reporter: until now, such penalties against russia's energies, arms and banking seconders have been reserved for a full-scale invasion. russia, however, remains undeterred. russian officials say ukraine's military operations in the east effectively scud l a deal reached in geneva last month to defuse the crisis and called for an emergency session of the u.s. security council to highlight alleged threats to russians inside ukraine. to reassure the west increasingly nerve eastern european allies, nato is considering expanding and extending new military exercises in the region. defense secretary chuck hagel said, however, all members of
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the alliance, not just the u.s. must share the burden. >> we must not squander this opportunity and shrink from this challenge. we will be judged harshly by history. and by future generations if we to. >> russia is showing no signs of the deescalation that the west is demanding. in fact, we are hearing and seeing the opposite. today russian officials tee claired that agreement reached in geneva last month to deescalate the crisis is dead. we're hearing more and more rhetoric reminiscent to the cold war. accusing the u.s. and cia of being the real power. angela merkel firing back. the strong against the strength of the law. that's really the problem here. what's happening in eastern ukraine is a bad precedent for the rest of europe. peace in europe, dependence since world war ii on the sanctity of borders. you've seen that violated in crimea. we're seeing it more and more now in eastern ukraine. the stakes really high for the
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gemme germans, nato allies around ukraine and the association of the u.s. as well. >> 2008, russia took over parts of georgia. still are there. that was precursor clearly to what's going on right now. i want you to stand by, jim. we're going to have much more on this. let's go to ukraine right now for the latest on what's happening on the ground. our senior international correspondent arwa damon is there for us. arwa, what are you seeing and what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, events most certainly have been moving very quickly over the last 24 hours, wolf. in the city of slavyansk, the ukrainian military twinning the beginning their operations there around 24 hours ago at this stage. at least two military officers killed when the pro-russian militants managed to shoot down two helicopters. according to the self-proclaimed mayor of slavyansk, five pro-russian militants were killed in clashes plus two civilians. conflicting death tolls
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throughout all this. the you krukrainian forces at t stage seeming only to want to move to the outskirts of the city, itself, then hold those positions. as that was happening just a short while ago, coming under attack by the pro-russian militants. according to officials, at least two more ukrainian soldiers were killed just in the last few hours. and then, of course, you have the violence that began raging in the southern city of odessa that had been relatively quiet up until now. earlier in the day, clashes breaking out between the pro-russian camp and the pro-ukrainian camp and then a building catching on fire. now, during the clashes, at least three people were killed but that building fire, wolf, absolutely devastating. over 30 people dead. the vast majority of them because of smoke inhalation. others because they tried to jump out of the building. unclear if that fire was as a direct result of the clashes that broke out there, wolf. >> any indication, arwa, when or if the russians will make good
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on their public promises to help russian interests, russian speakers, in eastern ukraine more formally, shall we say, as opposed to clandestinely or special operations forces? >> reporter: well, a lot of people are watching that border, wolf, at this stage. we have not been hearing about any significant troop movement on the russian side of it. on the ukrainian side, kiev has been trying to bolster its forces, both beefing up the border guard, sending in additional troops. great concerns, though, that if the russian do decide to come across, what can the ukrainians actually do? they most certainly will not have the military upper hand at this stage. that's why, of course, there are such great concerns about the troop buildup that russia has on its side of the border. should it decide to send its forces across. ukrainians are going to find themselves pretty much at the mercy of the russian military. >> arwa damon on the ground for
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us. be careful over there. we know some western journalists already have been detained. arwa damon reporting. still ahead, what can the united states do to stop the violence and rein in vladimir putin? two veteran u.s. diplomats are standing by to share their inside knowledge of the crisis. and president obama's response. [ male announcer ] eligible for medicare?
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we're back with very disturbing breaking news out of ukraine. the government launching a deadly new offensive to reclaim areas seized by pro-russian militants. region a top militant leader he- says the assault is delaying the release of observers from the organization for security and cooperation in europe. the osce. we're joined by the u.s. ambassador to the osce, ambassador daniel baer, and steven pifer. and jim sciutto still with us. what's the latest with the osce international monitors that were sent in there to do really important work but are now effectively being held hostage by pro-russian militants? >> that's absolutely right, wolf. the latest is just that there continue to be ongoing negotiations on the ground. the deputy head of the monitoring mission, the osce
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special monitoring mission which is separate from the vienna document monitors under the osce has been negotiating day-by-day with the self-appointed mayor of slavya slavyansk. those efforts continue. we remain concerned of their welfare, not only their welfare but the ukrainian escorts are with them. we remain hopeful that they'll be released in the very near future. >> is there any formal demand for their release that has been put forward? >> they are germans as well as several others, pols, dans, several other nationalities, czechs are involved. there have been a number of countries that made clear calls for their release and have been working assiduously behind the scenes to make sure that every effort is being exerted as is it to get their unconditional release as soon as possible. >> ambassador pifer, we heard the president say and angela
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merkel for all practical purposes that these elections scheduled in ukraine for may 25th, if the russians do anything to interfere with those elections, that would trigger more severe sanctions. is that going to make a difference to the russians, a threat like that? >> i think it could. these elections really important in terms of giving ukraine a president who's going to have democratic legitimacy without the shadow over the current acting government. the russians want to disrupt that election because they don't want to see a stable government in kiev. that should be something the west pushes back against and making clear there will be additional sanctions is one way to do it. >> is there real serious daylight when it comes to sanctions between the germans and the u.s., between angela merkel and president obama? >> i think today we saw less daylight than we've seen before. there appeared to be some because in the run-up to this most recent round of sanctions, there was talk of more severe steps than were actually taken. going after some of the more significant companies like gasprom, the main natural gas
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provider. that didn't happen. we said many times germany pays the real price check lyeconomic sector sanctions. the way it's framed now, previously russia had a negative obligation to avoid sector-wide sanctions. the west said do not invade ukraine, if you do, we'll have them. they have a positive obligation. they have to stop disrupting the situation on the ground which is arguably a tougher thing to get them to do. >> ambassador baer, you're there and you represent the united states at the organization for security and cooperation in europe. do you really believe, given the current circumstances, the violence that's going on, the deaths, the bloodshed, the warfare, if you will, at least in a preliminary stage, there can be free and fair elections in ukraine on may 25th? >> i do, wolf. you know, the violence or the confrontations have been fairly local iced. they're obviously in a number of places but they're absolutely
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necessary. part of the message all along has been that there are certainly grievance all over the country. everybody in ukraine has been robbed blind by the yanokovych government for the last ten years. tens of billions of dollars. everyone wants a job, fair shake in life. the right way to turn the page on that erica and build a new ukraine together is through these elections. these are a first step. so, you know, i think it is, as ambassador pifer said, it's crucially important that the people of ukraine have the opportunity to move forward together in these elections and certainly the international community including the russian federation should do everything possible to support that opportunity for the people of ukraine. >> ambassador pifer, you were the u.s. ambassador in ukraine. you know the country. if there were free and fair elections, let's hope there are, what percentage of the ukrainian citizenship would actually vote to split from ukraine and become part of russia? >> yeah, it's interesting when you look at eastern and southern
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you raukraine which is where mo ethnic russians live and that's where the polls show people are uncomfortable with the government of kiev. they show by majority, 70% to 75% they want a single unitary ukraine. they don't want to split off, don't want to join russia, they don't want the russian army. there's a chance if the election can be held without interference by armed thugs in eastern ukraine, ukrainians will have a chance to express their opinion and vote and lead to a situation where again you have a more stable government with renewed authorities. >> tell viewers why you called the capital "keev" instead of kiev. it's a political statement you're making by calling it "keev." >> it's "keev." >> ambassador baer, what do you call it. >> i call it "keev" as well. ambassador pifer, former u.s. ambassador is calling it keev as
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well. thanks for vuthat. still ahead, president obama and the new jobs report. how much credit can he claim for the credit of the strongest growth in years? first, chris cuomo shows us how an olympic skier is impacting your world. >> bodie miller was inspired to start turtle ridge foundation after a close friend suffered an accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. >> i was trying to help them get re-involved in sports and just to watch him go through that, i saw how hard it was and how little support there was for him. people who are in a wheelchair or handicap, we provide the sporting equipment for them and sort of the environment that allows them to participate if whatever sport that is. >> reporter: once a year, skiers flock to bodie fest on his home turf in new hampshire for a day of fund-raising and chance for i kids to race the ski icon. >> he's really cool and really
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fast. >> for those of you who watched the world cup this year, the super-g was the best i skied all year. >> reporter: it's the chance to test out the latest equipment the foundation has helped top. >> the program has changed my life. i never thought i'd be able to ski, but this program's really changed my opinion on the depth of sports. >> we built some of our ski equipment and give it to a kid who never had the chance to go up and experience what it is to ski down a giant mountain. and you watch how life changing that can be for them. i think it's really -- it's pretty incredible. [ hypnotist ] you are feeling satisfied
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new gains for the jobs market. a new report out today shows 288,000 positions were added in april. that's the strongest month for growth in two years. the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%. large part because some fewer americans are out there looking for work. but still, these are hugely impressive numbers. let's bring in our white house correspondent michelle kosinski, she's joining us. what does this mean for the president, michelle? what is he saying? >> reporter: hi, wolf. this was interesting. president obama started his press conference today with german chancellor angela merkel by talking about american job growth. but he also had a caveat. >> grit and determine natiatione american people are moving us
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forward. >> reporter: that is because even though those numbers look fantastic, i mean, 288,000 private sector jobs added just last month, that's enough to lower the unemployment rate overall to 6.3%. down about a half a percentage point. and those are big numbers. but a reason for that is because so many americans, nearly a million of them, have actually left the labor force. either leaving their jobs or giving up looking for one. so that is enough to wipe out some of the gains in the first quarter. 800,000 americans left the labor force. another reason many economists are not so thrilled is because wages have also been pretty flat. overall, though, many do see this as positive. when you look at the bigger unemployment numbers, which include those people who have given up looking for a job, or people who have been working part time but want to work more, those numbers are the lowest they've been in some 20 years.
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and president obama also took an opportunity today to hit out at congress for not acting to raise the minimum wage. wolf? >> you know, michelle, you think of that one number, 288,000 jobs added in april. they revised the numbers for february and march another 30,000 additional jobs were added in those months, in both of those months had pretty impressive job creation as well. you know, you got to go back and think five, six years ago in 2008, 2009, when president obama took office and we were going through that major, major recession, hundreds of thousands of jobs were being lost every month. you look at these numbers and you say to yourself, at least it's going in the other direction. >> reporter: right. absolutely. these are the lowest numbers we've seen. in fact, since president obama did take office in 2008. so economists say, you know, you always have to temper it. you have to look at a lower unemployment rate by those huge numbers of people who were just giving up because they can't
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find a job. then you look beyond that and it's the overall numbers, that slow engine that is driving some growth. wolf? >> michelle kosinski, our white house correspondent. thanks very much. take a look at this video we just are getting into "the situation room." a building collapse right here in washington, d.c. look at this. that's pretty dramatic. it's actually happened only a few blocks away from our washington bureau here. no injuries, fortunately, reported so far. no indication anyone was inside, but obviously seriously, serious issue indeed. finally, i want to say thanks and so long to our longtime producer peter laneer, our good friend. terrific utility player here in "the situation room." hees leaving us. we'll miss him. we wish him only, only the best. follow us on twitter. tweet me @wolfblitzer.
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@cnnsitroom. watch us live. dvr the show so you won't miss a moment. that's it for me. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." let's step into the "crossfire" with newt gingrich and van jones. >> the fall yot tonight from the jobs numbers you've been reported. we're excited about them. good news for the american people, good news for president obama. i'm sure the republicans are going to find something to complain about. >> well, van, you're right. the big question is which number is more important? the 200-some thousand people who got job or the 8 00,000 who are so discouraged they gave up and sopped work e stopped working. the debate starts right now. >> tonight on "crossfire" the best jobs report in two years. >> our businesses created 273,000 new jobs last month. >> but do americans give president obama the credit? on the left, van jones. on the right, newt gingrich. in the "crossfire." representative barbara lee, a california democrat. and representative andy harris, a maryland republican.
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is president obama fixing the u.s. economy? or holding it back? tonight, on "crossfire." welcome to "crossfire." i am van joecnes on the left. >> i'm newt gingrich on the right. two different views on today's big jobs report. just a few hours ago president obama had the audacity to begin his news conference by patting himself on the back for today's supposedly stellar jobs report. >> first as president, my top priority is doing everything that we can to create more jobs and opportunity for hardworking families for our economic strength as a source of strength in the world. >> so let me get this straight. somewhere between the asian pivot, the ukrainian crisis and his meeting with angela merkel the president wants us to believe his top priority is whatever the latest news story is. anybody who goes out i